Last summer, first daughter Ivanka Trump announced that she was closing her namesake fashion brand, citing her government duties and responsibilities as the primary reasons. But a Washington watchdog group, the nonprofit organization CREW, found that the Ivanka Trump trademark was approved for voting machines in China, AFTER the brand supposedly closed up shop.
The concern is that this represents a possible conflict of interest with her role as an advisor to the president. Crew, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reported that China approved 16 new trademarks associated with Ivanka’s brand, the largest amount of trademarks that her company has received from China in one month throughout the whole of her father’s presidency.
The trademarks cover a variety of things- some expected items like clothing and accessories, handbags, shoes, wedding dresses, and jewelry. Strangely, however, some things that were highly unusual for her brand: how about nursing homes, sausage casing, and voting machines that would be used in China? Do those fit in with her typically fashion centered name brand? Hmmm. Apparently Ivanka applied for the trademarks in early 2016 when Trump was already on the campaign trail.
In a report from the Chicago Tribune, it is reported that Ivanka Trump Marks LLC also applied for 14 new trademark for non-fashion things – like real estate and financial services, construction, and furniture – in China in March of 2017, prior to her announcement that she would take the advisor role in her father’s administration. These trademarks could ensure that her business and brand continue no matter what happens with her career or position.
Former president of Ivanka’s brand, Abigail Klem, stated in 2017, “The brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant.”
The Washington Post reported that Ivanka would continue to get trademarks in order to preserve future business ventures, like transferring the trademarks or reopening her fashion brand.
Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for former president George W. Bush, told the Post, “She’s dissolving the company now but is continuing to get trademarks so she can sell her stuff all over the world later… What better time to get those trademarks than now, when every government around the world wants to play nice?”